Naperville_Wildlife.docx-0.jpgWhether you are an avid outdoorsman or woman, or prefer to stay in the city sipping a cappuccino on a patio, wildlife is all around. Where once we relied on cities to keep the barrier between us and other species, wildlife awareness is now more important than ever as we are finding many species have successfully adapted to our surroundings. And, with more animals, comes more risk of attack and exposure to disease.

For pet owners, the presence of wildlife can create risky situations when walking pets or even allowing them outdoors. Common urban dwellers, such as coyotes, skunks, and raccoons, are responsible for an increased presence of diseases like rabies and predation in and around cities.

Keeping Wildlife Out of the Yard

The best approach to avoiding a potential wildlife encounter with your pet is to deter them from wanting to hang out around your home or yard.

Coyotes will prey on cats and small dogs. Raccoons may ‘nest’ in an open chimney, bringing fleas, lice, and other parasites into the home. And, skunks – common carriers of rabies – will scavenge for food around trash bins. You may have already experienced some of these things.

To protect your family and your pet, follow these basic prevention tips:

  • If you have a fireplace, be sure to install a chimney cap to keep critters out
  • Look for vents or other openings into the attic and cover them with screening
  • Cover the space between the ground and a raised deck or else fill it in with rocks and other natural materials
  • Never leave pet food outside
  • Keep trash bins in the garage until the morning of pick-up
  • Supervise your pet when out in the yard
  • Consider installing perimeter fencing to deter larger species from entering the backyard

Wildlife Awareness When Hiking, Camping, or Recreating Outdoors

Since the weather is so beautiful in the autumn, a lot of us like to take our canine companions out to nature preserves and parks to enjoy some fresh air and fun. But, these areas are also home to many more species, along with some diseases, such as Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and heartworm.

Before turning our attention to wildlife encounters – remember, it is sometimes those tiny foes, like mosquitoes, ticks, and infected water or soil that can bring more risks to your dog. Talk to the Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital about how to keep your pet protected from parasitic illnesses, if he or she is not currently vaccinated and on a parasite preventative.

Other wildlife awareness tips include:

  • Keeping your dog leashed at all times, unless he is command-savvy and responds to your instructions, to prevent him from chasing animals
  • Sticking to trails and high visibility areas, avoiding grasses and overgrown places where snakes and other species can hide
  • Understanding what species are located in the area and if there have been any alerts to an increased prevalence of sightings or disease
  • Bringing fresh water for you dog and preventing him from ingesting water in ponds, ditches, and lakes (since bacteria and other water-borne parasites can be present)

Autumn is a wonderful time to be active outdoors with your pet. To protect him from wildlife and illnesses common to outdoor exposure, practice these safety tips.

And, enjoy the beautiful fall weather!